The tie-in to Russell was a short pamphlet he wrote in 1943 titled An Outline of Intellectual Rubbish: A Hilarious Catalogue of Organized and Individual Stupidity. Frankfurt's book was written in 2005 and professed to provide a philosophical definition of bullshit (also known as rubbish, malarkey, hokum, and humbug). Lechman generally spoke from Frankfurt's point of view, adding his own views where necessary.
The colloquial definition sets bullshit on the true-false spectrum — that bullshitting is a form of lying. Lechman argued that this is a flawed definition: that bullshit is much more anchored in motive than in truthfulness. My analogy is that fitting bullshit into the true-false spectrum is as valid as fitting apathy into the love-hate spectrum.
I think a linguistic flaw is the concept of opposites: for you can argue that love is the opposite of hate, and (in my opinion more strongly) that apathy is the opposite of love. Yet apathy is also the opposite of hate — and now we've got a triangle of opposites which is logically impossible. As the old joke goes, "two wrongs don't make a right but three lefts do." [Which I credit to 2NU in their song, "This is Ponderous", but I'm sure it's older than that.]
Anyway, Lechman was trying to suggest that bullshit comes from a motive of misdirection, not of deception. Thus, lying is the deliberate act of deceiving — of knowing the truth but professing something else. Bullshit is the deliberate act of misdirecting attention — of not caring about the truth of a statement, but stating it anyway to draw attention to someone else.
I think his perfectly constructed example was of one who states, "America is the greatest country in the world" to other Americans. It's a statement that has no provable truth, for there are statistics that favor America and those that don't. The purpose of making such a statement, though, is to suggest that oneself is great — that by complimenting the country and therefore its people, the people then express praise in complementary appreciation.
However, I deviate from Lechman's and Frankfurt's definition there. I think that bullshit can be as simple as assuming logical fallacy is more valid than logical argument. To me, this definition allows for a more innocent form of bullshit, where the bullshitter actually does have truthfulness in mind, but is ill-equipped to make an argument.
So in the end, I guess I support Lechman's (and presumably Frankfurt's) definition that one form of bullshit requires an apathy toward the truthfulness of a statement and an ulterior motive. However, I feel there is also another form of bullshit which is simply using logical fallacy as if it is superior to logical argument.
I have to admit I was enamored of the idea of Oh My God: a 60-foot-long, 10-foot-high wall of mismatched speakers, impossibly arranged to form a perfect rectangle. I knew from the opening that it sporadically played voices and sounds. I sat in front of it for (what turned out to be) nearly the entirety of its 7-minute loop. The phrase "oh my God" — versions thereof collected from famous and not-so-famous media sources — emanates sporadically from one randomly-selected speaker. And then from another, and another, and so on — gradually playing more and more frequently until building to a cacophonous and overwhelming climax.
As I was letting myself get lost in the experience, I recognized a few of the voices and their sources from popular movies and television. Sometimes I'd recognize a voice that was played earlier being played in a new location. I was also aware of the digital distortion from the variety of low sampling rates and MPEG-styled compression artifacts — a specific kind of harmonic whine that tended to distract me. But certain voices I didn't recognize (save for their intonation), and they brought me specifically to the events of September 11.
In reading the information binder for Oh My God, it turns out that was, in fact, Aken's inspiration. In unavoidably viewing the terrible footage that day over-and-over until he became numb to it, the one thing that rang out was a woman's voice saying, "oh my God" in one of the clips. [In case you don't recall, the World Trade Center was destroyed by terrorists piloting hijacked commercial airplanes on September 11, 2001.]
I was kind-of saddened that the point was so … simple: that this impressive-scaled work, reminiscent of the ideally-packed order of Manhattan's maps and its skylines, was just a reflection of the numbness achieved by repetitive playback of an event by the media by creating numbness to a phrase by parroting its own frequent use in media.
I still want to like it so bad, but I'm at a loss to find any more depth in it. But hey: maybe that's the point too.
The Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) will be showing The Haunting starting at 8 p.m. It's about a group of people investigating the haunted mansion "Hill House". Eastman House's Calendar adds, "this classic of the horror genre was a throwback in its own time, masterfully employing the powers of suggestion to provoke fear, and now stands as one of Hollywood's scariest, most atmospheric works."
Dryden Theater calendar][all ages]
The Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) will be showing Otoshiana(Pitfall) starting at 8 p.m. Here's what the Eastman House Calendar teases us with: "When a miner leaves his employers and treks out with his young son to become a migrant worker, he finds himself moving from one eerie landscape to another, intermittently followed (and photographed) by an enigmatic man in a clean white suit, and eventually coming face to face with his inescapable destiny. [...] Pitfall is an unsettling ghost story, a portrait of human alienation, and a compellingly surreal critique of soulless industry."
Dryden Theater calendar][all ages]
Tonight at The Mez (389 Gregory St., formerly House of Hamez and Daily Perks) is Songwriters in the Round featuring witty and talented acoustic soloist Brian Coughlin, Dusty Pascal, and Loren Barrigar starting around 8 p.m.
Mez website][all ages]
According to an e-mail from SoundRabbit, The Mezzanotte Cafe and Lounge (685 N. Salina St., Syracuse) went out of business and — as you might imagine — they won't be playing there. As of 9 a.m. October 16, they're looking for a gig somewhere between Ohio and Massachusetts ...
The Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) will be showing Chelsea Girls starting at 7 p.m. I only mention this as a warning: this film is notorious for people walking out (including myself, who made it about halfway through its 210-minute runtime). It's also known as Andy Warhol's "cinematic masterpiece" — and as such, a true gauntlet for those who claim to like Warhol's work. It's an amateurish jumble of images of stoned-out people at the Chelsea Hotel; a genius demonstration of the antithesis of cinematic storytelling.
Dryden Theater calendar][all ages]
Tonight at 6:30 p.m. in St. Anne Church (1600 Mt. Hope Ave.) is the Fall General Meeting for The Upper Mount Hope Neighborhood Association featuring City of Rochester Engineer Paul Way and Assistant Director of Zoning Marcia Barry to discuss the redevelopment of Mount Hope Avenue.
Upper Mount Hope Neighborhood Association flyer][all ages]
This page is Jason Olshefsky's list of things to do in Rochester, NY and the surrounding region (including nearby towns Irondequoit, Webster, Penfield, Pittsford, Victor, Henrietta, Gates, Chili, Greece, and Charlotte, and occasionally other places in Monroe County and the Western New York region.) It is updated every week with daily listings for entertainment, activities, performances, movies, music, bands, comedy, improv, poetry, storytelling, lectures, discussions, debates, theater, plays, and generally fun things to do.
Music events are usually original bands with occasional cover bands and DJ's with musical styles including punk, emo, ska, swing, rock, rock-and-roll, alternative, metal, jazz, blues, noise band, experimental music, folk, acoustic, and "world-beat."
Events listed take place during the day, in the evenings, or as part of the city's nightlife as listed.
Although I'm reluctant to admit it, it is a Rochester blog and I'm essentially blogging about Rochester events.
I also tend to express opinions, review past events, make reviews, speak of philosophy or of a philosophical nature, discuss humanity and creativity.
Oh, and it's spelled JayceLand with no space and a capital L, not Jayce Land, Jaycee Land, Jace Land, Jase Land, Joyce Land, Jayce World, Jayceeland, Jaceland, Jaseland, Joyceland, Jayceworld, Jayceeworld, Jaceworld, Jaseworld, nor Joyceworld. (Now if you misspell it in some search engine, you at least get a shot at finding it.)
It's also not to be confused with
or JakesWorld which is a site of a Rochester animator.
While I'm on the topic of keywords for search engines, this update includes information for Thursday, October 16, 2008 (Thu, Oct 16, 2008, 10/16/2008, or 10/16/08) Friday, October 17, 2008 (Fri, Oct 17, 2008, 10/17/2008, or 10/17/08) Saturday, October 18, 2008 (Sat, Oct 18, 2008, 10/18/2008, or 10/18/08) Sunday, October 19, 2008 (Sun, Oct 19, 2008, 10/19/2008, or 10/19/08) Monday, October 20, 2008 (Mon, Oct 20, 2008, 10/20/2008, or 10/20/08) Tuesday, October 21, 2008 (Tue, Oct 21, 2008, 10/21/2008, or 10/21/08) and Wednesday, October 22, 2008 (Wed, Oct 22, 2008, 10/22/2008, or 10/22/08).
indicates an event that's a preferred pick of the day ... probably something worth checking out.
indicates a "guaranteed" best bet for the particular genre of the indicated event.
links to a band's page on GarageBand.com which offers reviews and information about bands.
links to a band's page on MySpace.com which is a friend-networking site that is popular with bands.